By now you’ve probably heard of the Anthem Data Breach which is affecting millions of people from current members, past members, and even kids. Yes, you heard me right, kids are even being targeted with this latest data breach.
However the big question most people have on their mind since this breach is how to protect yourself from becoming an identity theft victim, and in this article I’m going to share the fact behind exactly what these hackers really stole and what you can do to protect your family.
I was personally a member of Anthem at one time too which means most of this stuff pertains to me as well, so if you are looking for some ways to protect yourself from all the possible risk of getting your identity stolen or worse then this article may help shed some light on what you should do.
The Facts About The Anthem Data Breach
Before I jump into what you should do to protect yourself from this data breach I want to share some of the facts about this scam. This way you have the right information and don’t jump to any conclusions.
I also want to point out that you should only trust credible sources. If you start getting unusual phone calls, emails, or letters in the mail that don’t look legit avoid them.
Below are the facts as I know them.
Who Hacked Anthem?
According to this CNN article they are thinking it came from a Chinese IP address however this doesn’t mean it was China because hackers have been known to route their attacks through multiple IP addresses to hide the true location of the attackers.
Who Had Their Information Stolen?
Roughly 80 million people had their identities stolen according to this article on CNN. This would include current and past members and even children.
How Did They Hack Anthem?
The hack was noticed when an employee was doing a routine check on their database and noticed that a massive amount of data being moved. A deeper look showed that the hackers had stolen the techs username and password.
How they got this info is not known yet but this can be a common way hackers will gain access to a database like this.
What Did The Hackers Steal?
Here is a list of things to hackers stole.
- Medical ID’s
- Social Security Number
- Street Address
- Email Address
- Employment Information
- Income Data
Notice that I did not say credit card information or medical information. Luckily, the hackers were not able to get a hold of this information or worse change this information but that also doesn’t mean you’re in the clear because the hackers still have plenty of info to go on that still makes you vulnerable.
I’ll cover more of this in the next section.
What Are The Hackers Doing With This Information?
The true answer to what they want to do with your identity is not fully known yet. In most cases they are looking for ways to gain access to your accounts, credit cards, and more.
At this point it’s best not to take anything for granted and in the next section I’ll be giving you some ideas to help you protect your identity.
How Will Anthem Contact Me?
Anthem will only contact you via mail. They will not ask you to pay for anything, not ask for any financial information, or to pay for any service. Rather they will be sending you an information packet that will show you how to sign up for a free identity theft protection service at AnthemFacts.com
Anthem will not contact you via email, or call you.
How To Protect Yourself From The Anthem Hack
This particular data breach is a little different from others in that they didn’t actually steal any credit card information. However reports have come out by the FTC claiming these hackers are using phishing scams to con people into handing over their financial credentials.
Below are a list of things you can do to protect yourself from the Anthem data breach.
Check Your Credit Report
One of the first things you will want to do is check your credit report. If you go to AnnualCreditReport.com you will be able to get access to all three of your reports or free.
Look for anything out of the ordinary from new accounts being opened up or any other odd behavior.
Review Your Account Statements
Next review you account statements and look for anything out of the ordinary such as false charges on your accounts. If you don’t recognize any transactions you’ve made then this could be a sign of wrong doing.
Change Your Password
Next consider changing your password. You may want to consider putting a stronger password in place to protect you. If you’re not sure how to structure your password I wrote a great article that talks about how to do that here.
Put A Freeze On Your Credit
One of the big issues with this breach is the fact that they got so much info from people, including their social security numbers. The bad part about this is that they could possibly use it to open new accounts which could go undetected.
To protect against this the simplest thing you could do is put a freeze on your credit. The cost for this typiacally runs between $3 and $10 depending on the state you live in.
To learn more on how to do this check out this article.
Monitor Any Unusual Activity
Another thing you want to do is pay attention to any unusual activity going on. For example, if your child starts to receive credit card offers in the mail and has never applied for credit before this could be a sign that your child’s ID was stolen.
If you notice something odd don’t brush it off.
Beware Of Phishing Scam
Another issue to be aware of is phishing scams going on such as unofficial letters being sent to you, phone calls, or emails claiming you need to reconfirm your financial information and credentials.
If you get these calls, emails, or letters avoid them, and if you’re not sure if it is legit contact Anthem to make sure. To contact Anthem go to their website and use the legit phone number which you can do here.
Don’t use phone numbers that you are unsure of.
Get Credit Monitoring
If you are a member of Anthem you can get access to free credit monitoring offered by AllClear ID which you can get here. This service offers credit monitoring and identity theft services.
To wrap up, take a moment to follow the steps I’ve laid out. The last thing you want to have happen is to be taken by surprise on this.
Are you a victim of the Anthem data breach? Have you gotten a phone call from these scammers? Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and stories below.